Love her or loathe her, there's no denying that Lady Gaga is the current Queen of music videos. She claimed the throne with "Paparazzi" and has since gone from strength to strength. "Bad Romance" triumphantly mixed a seedy Europorn aesthetic with high fashion glamour to bring sex trafficking to the masses, while "Telephone" took things to the next level with its instantly iconic narrative, scene stealing cameo from the world's biggest superstar and long list of quirky 70s influences. And I expected more of that magic from today's premiere of "Alejandro". The preview looked quintessentially Gaga and I've been in love with the song from the first time I played "The Fame Monster" - so it's difficult to explain my intense disappointment at the finished product.
Lady Gaga has always been a master at blending her influences, lifting a Debbie Harry look here and a Grace Jones outfit there. It's never bothered me because she has an uncanny ability to take other people's ideas and make them her own. The same can not be said, however, for "Alejandro". Anyone old enough to actually remember the 80s will experience an alarming sense of deja vu when they sit down to watch this derivative montage of Madonna videos and tour moments. It amuses me that many of the same people that roasted Christina Aguilera's "Not Myself Tonight" video are calling Gaga's effort "a work of art". Bitch, please. This makes Xtina's cheerful homage look positively original by comparison. There's no denying the quality of the Steven Klein's direction, the brilliant cinematography or ingenious hair and make-up but we've seen it all before. As much as I hate to say it - Madonna really did do it first!
The men in high heels - tick
Ripping off Leni Reifenstahl's Nazi/Aryan aesthetic - tick
The Evita-tastic funeral procession - tick
A factory/industrial setting ("Express Yourself" anyone?) - tick
Male dancers homoerotically fighting/dancing (Girlie Show) - tick
The choreography on the bed (see "Bye Bye Baby") - tick
Religious imagery - tick
A dance routine straight from "Vogue" - tick
A pointy brassiere - tick
Bondage gear a la "Erotica" - tick
Faux rape (see "Like A Prayer") - tick
More disappointing still is the fact that Lady Gaga is starting to repeat herself. How long is she going to stick with the whole one ugly look followed by a glamorous look routine and is anyone else sick of seeing her dance in her underpants? Girl, invest in some feathers and sequins! The fame monster is in danger of becoming a caricature of herself. I just wish she would stop trying to be so damn self-important and serious. "Alejandro" is a joyous pop song. As MIA bitchily (but correctly) pointed out, it "sounds like Ibiza music". So why try to turn it into a funeral march for a demented nun into group sex and bad hairstyles? She just needs to embrace the fact that she makes throwaway fluff better than just about anyone and make a video starring Ace of Base as a thank you for borrowing their sound. The only good thing to come out of these eight and a half minutes of pointlessness is a new appreciation for Kylie's "All The Lovers" video. In comparison, that sweet little clip is positively revolutionary.